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Poster: Finster Baby Date: Dec 17, 2009 5:40am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When Did Jerry Stop Talking On Stage?

Some good points raised here, but I think there is / was one factor that hasn't been mentioned yet.

I think over time, as the band became more popular, and Jerry became more and more of a Shaman / Guru figure in many folks eyes, he was afraid to speak. He didn't want to be seen as any kind of leader of any kind of movement and didn't want people taking anything he said out of context or making him out to be some sort of prophet or whatever.
I think he discussed this in some of the later era interviews that he did. He always wanted to be just a guy that plays music. For better or worse, he was aware that for alot of folks he became way more than that, and many put him up on a pedastal that he was neither comfortable with or felt he deserved to be on.

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Poster: DianaW Date: Dec 17, 2009 5:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When Did Jerry Stop Talking On Stage?

I think that's right. I have a lot less knowledge of the Grateful Dead than many people here, but I've gotten the idea that basically, this eventually killed him. Do you think that's right?

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Poster: Finster Baby Date: Dec 17, 2009 6:00am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When Did Jerry Stop Talking On Stage?

No..
I think if it contributed anything to his death it was very little. I think his lifestyle killed him. Aside from the drugs, everything I've read / heard was that he just did not take very good care of himself. He ate a very unhealthy diet, smoked like a chimney, and never met an excercize he didn't hate. Add to that the drugs, which as hard on the body as they are, also intensified the above behaviors. I recall seeing in one of the books I read (Dark Star..maybe?) that at one point in the mid 80s his diet consisted of Ice Cream, candy bars, heroin and unfiltered camels. That is gonna take a toll on the body.

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Poster: DianaW Date: Dec 17, 2009 6:14am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When Did Jerry Stop Talking On Stage?

Yeah, I know he did himself in with drugs and maybe even more so with junk food ... I was just wondering if all that was a sort of escape from the unwanted guru stuff. My armchair psychoanalysis.

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Poster: Finster Baby Date: Dec 17, 2009 6:29am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When Did Jerry Stop Talking On Stage?

Good point!
When he first started with the persian, supposedly one of the things that he liked about it was that it took the edge off of things. Helped him to relax a bit and "get away' from they daily hassles of life as Jerry.

So in a way, I guess it did contribute more than I originally thought, as wanting / needing some sort of self medication was a result of the heavy load he felt was being placed upon him.

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Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: Dec 17, 2009 6:26am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When Did Jerry Stop Talking On Stage?

That is an excellent observation. Heavy is the head that wears the crown. If you knew that a crowd of 20,000 tripped out freaks was focused entirely on everything you did, I'm thinking that over time this would make you think twice before uttering anything. However, it would have been funny if he had taken this "power" and run a few experiments. Like saying "Wow, wouldn't it be really cool if everyone here took off their clothes and ran to city hall screaming 'help, help, the leeches are everywhere!!'"

Yes, that's right, I appear to have a little TOO much spare time as of late.

This post was modified by SomeDarkHollow on 2009-12-17 14:26:36

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Poster: snori Date: Dec 17, 2009 6:49am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When Did Jerry Stop Talking On Stage?

But even that would be preferable to seeing the Fat Man run up to the mike yelling 'GOOOOOOOD EVENING SALT LAKE CITY !!! HOW Y'ALL DOIN' ?'

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Poster: DianaW Date: Dec 17, 2009 7:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When Did Jerry Stop Talking On Stage?

LOL, yeah, sometimes less is more. The early, relaxed, un-self-conscious banter is a real treasure, very different from superstar-whipping-crowd-into-frenzy stuff. He wasn't Mick Jagger.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 17, 2009 7:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When Did Jerry Stop Talking On Stage?

I think that the point DW, FB and SDH discuss above is an important and new perspective...from what I've read, this "reluctance to be perc'd as Guru" was always a very serious concern for Jerry. So, I am inclined to agree that it might have been a developing issue over the years. It is somewhat akin to the equally, if not moreso, compelling component of "touring to support the beast" (ie, the "family" that the DEAD organization had become, req'ing ever increasing piles of $$ to support, which in turn req'd touring all the time to "feed"). Jerry was clearly bothered by this and as many have noted, he often took refuge in the solo efforts to return to his "roots" of just playing in a nonpressurized, low key environment.

On the other hand, the carefree, "WTF? I don't have ANY of the answers so stop asking me!" streak to Jerry's personality (again, IMHO from what I've read), implies that he could have had fun with it as SDH notes, or just been more at peace with saying to himself "I am not gonna take any of this shit seriously!"...meaning, from his early days performing you'd think he might have been better able to handle it all, and thus, have kept up the innocent and informative banter.

EG, I have always loved the Harding Theatre show of Nov, 71, in which Jerry is clearly very amused and even excited to convey his little techno tidbit about folks at home listening on the radio hearing the sound faster than those in the hall...that kind of banter clearly conveys that he is 1) engaged, 2) happy, and 3) interested in letting the crowd in on his factoids...

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Dec 17, 2009 10:42am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When Did Jerry Stop Talking On Stage?

Well , I don;t know where to jump in, but the fear someone might misconstrue some statement by him, and hurt themselves , or someone one else, or him ( I heard he was really freaked by John Lennon's murder )!
As an extra on that JGB dvd from 91 Shoreline, David Kemper tells a story, in which a fan asks Jerry "How's everything"?, and jerry answers "I don't know, I haven't tried everything". And then regretting he said that, " Now he's gonna go a try everything " . So he was keenly aware of the responsibility put on his shoulders, and was careful what he said .
Also, he had a sense of humility, both on a personal level, and on a musical level .
No matter how much adulation he got, he KNEW he was a fuck up, who couldn't control his habits, or manage his own "family" life . Musically , he knew he was not technically on the level of the greatest players . When he played on Ornette's "Virgin Beauty" album, he said he was really scared, ( it is one thing to play to bunch of forgiving Deadheads, it's another to play for one of the great musical masters) . By the way, a friend of mine asked Ornette how did he like Jerry's contribution to the album, he said "it was perfect, exactly what he wanted " . He kept learning and musically growing, till the day he died .
He was not a prophet, or God itself, and preferred to let the music do the talking .

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Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 17, 2009 12:27pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When Did Jerry Stop Talking On Stage?

Good pts; in a way, he was caught in the paradox of in many ways embracing an almost anarchist perspective on society and acceptance of having achieved a status that entailed a great deal of responsibility, whether you wanted it or not (eg, to the "family/band" in a financial sense, even to the public, etc.). He defn was humble about his playing; most defn comes thru in all I have heard him say about things in that respect.

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Poster: snori Date: Dec 17, 2009 8:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When Did Jerry Stop Talking On Stage?

8th May 77 - 'These people up front are getting horribly smashed' always makes me chuckle.

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Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: Dec 17, 2009 7:03am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When Did Jerry Stop Talking On Stage?

Now that brings up an image of Jerry wandering the halls of a venue in Ohio saying "Hello, Cleveland!!!".

Now THAT would be a good flick. Replacing Spinal Tap with the boys.

"Don't worry, Jerr, Boston isn't a big college town"
"No, Billy, we're not playing 'Jazz Odyssey'"